From the Summary: "The United States traditionally has had close relations with Venezuela, but there has been friction in relations with the Chávez government. The Bush Administration expressed strong support for the work of the OAS in resolving the crisis, welcomed the May 2003 political accord, and supported its implementation. After the recall referendum, the Administration congratulated the Venezuelan people for their commitment to democracy and commended the work of the OAS and Carter Center. At the same time, U.S. officials stressed the importance of reconciliation on the part of the government and the opposition in order to resolve their political differences peacefully. A dilemma for U.S. policymakers has been how to press the Chávez government to adhere to democratic principles without taking sides in Venezuela's polarized political conflict. Since Venezuela is a major supplier of foreign oil to the United States, a key U.S. interest has been ensuring the continued flow of oil exports at a reasonable and stable price. Despite friction in U.S.-Venezuelan relations and despite past threats by President Chávez to stop selling oil to the United States, Venezuela has remained a steady supplier of oil to the United States."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32488